Monday, July 26, 2021

“Friends of Durruti” and Kindle Vella

I think maybe it was back in June that Amazon/Kindle sent me an email with a little about a new venture of theirs, Kindle Vella. They proposed Kindle Vella as a place for serialized stories—set them up in chunks of 600 to 5000 words. The first two or three are free to try to get readers interested. Readers pay a few “tokens” to read more episodes and finish the story. It sounded as if they wanted plot driven stories with strong cliff hangers at the ends of chapters and good hooks at the beginnings. I didn’t write anything for Kindle Vella specifically, but I do have some unsold, unpublished work in my inventory. So I decided to set up one of my stories for K.V. 

All my published work thus far has been in the private eye vein. My agent suggested to me that I might want to try something more in the line of a thriller, rather than a P.I. tale. Baby steps. I wrote a non-private eye story, but I did keep my P.I. protagonist, Frank Swiver and another recurring character, his college chum, Communist Party of America member, Max Rabinowitz. The story “Friends of Durruti” is set in Spain in 1937, back before Frank became a private eye, when Frank and Max are fighting for the Spanish Republic. On the one hand, “Friends of Durruti” could be an origin story for Frank as a P.I., but basically, I’d call it a “men’s adventure” story, the sort I might imagine you’d have found in the likes of True, The Man's Magazine or Argosy, Adventure, even Cavalier in the 1950s. Unfortunately, for my publishing aspirations, those titles have long ago shuffled off their pulpy coils. The contemporary mystery mags didn’t want “Durruti,” so why not give it the K.V. treatment. Scenes are the building blocks of my fiction, and in general, I try to write each scene as if it’s a complete mini work of fiction, with its own inciting incident, rising action, climax, and falling action/denouement. 

The whole “Durruti” story is 10,000 words, and I arbitrarily divided it into four parts of about 2,500 words each—give or take, trying to align the four episodes with four climaxes. It was not an exact science, but it was a way to operate. Without having any idea what the Kindle Vella product or pages on Amazon would look like, I posted four episodes. Amazon published them, in 24 to 72 hours, and the Vella thing went live on Wednesday, July 14. Amazon sent me an email in a pink or fuchsia color scheme to announce the debut, making me wonder if my men's adventure story was in the right place.

Here’s the Kindle Vella landing page: 

You know my name and the title of my story. Can you find “Friends of Durruti” from the above link? Do you know what to do to read it by the time you arrive? 

I hope you’ll drop a token in the slot and give it a read (actually, the first three episodes are free—no tokens required). And I’m thinking that some good reviews might give the story a little more visibility, so if you like “Friends of Durruti,” please take a few moments to write a positive review.

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